Form and Content 101.

December 22, 2010 at 12:46 pm Leave a comment

A friend of mine is TA’ing a theater class next semester, and the wonderfully offbeat professor asked her to research books outside of theater that deal with the relationship between form and content. So she asked me for some advice! (I was flattered.)

After a quick perusal of my personal library, here’s what I came up with. Please feel free to comment and/or leave your own suggestions.

1. Learning From Las Vegas (Revised Edition) by Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, and Steven Izenour
Particularly the part of the book that deals with the Decorated Shed vs. the Duck.

2. “This is Not a Pipe” originally written in French by Michel Foucault, referencing the title of two paintings by René Magritte
The translation that I have is by James Harkness and appeared in the book “Aesthetics, Method, and Epistemology (Essential Works of Foucault, 1954-1984, Vol 2)”

“La Trahison des Images” (“The Treachery of Images”) (1928-9) or “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” (“This is not a pipe”), painting by René Magritte, 1898-1967. The work is now owned by and exhibited at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

“Surrealist Painter,” comic by Dan Piraro

3. Design of Cities by Edmund N. Bacon
While I may not agree much with Bacon, he provides good insight to his style of urban planning, and the book has great illustrations. Ed Bacon is also Kevin Bacon’s father, which is just fun.

4. Towards a New Architecture originally written in French by Le Corbusier
Now considered the manifesto of this modernist pioneer, the translation I have is a classic version by Frederick Etchells.

book cover of Towards a New Architecture

5. Understanding Pictures by Dominic Lopes
Explores (in digestible English!) how our minds deal with the visual and epistemic content of images, from a philosophical perspective.

6. “Feature binding, attention and object perception” by Anne Treisman
This essay, found in the book “Attention, Space, and Action: Studies in Cognitive Neuroscience,” discusses support for the idea that we have to pay attention to something in order to understand all of its visual parts (i.e. colors, shape, direction) and therefore understand what it is as an object in the world.

December 22’s daily design idea is what’s your favorite piece of literature that deals with form and content?

Special thanks to Sara for inspiring this post!


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